Football

Racism in football

Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT) June 13, 2013
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Racism has long been a stain on football but a resurgence of incidents in recent years has prompted soccer's authorities to launch a renewed bid to rid the game of discrimination for good. Here a Fenerbahce fan holds a banana towards Galatasaray's Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba during a Turkish league match in May 2013. Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images
The spark for a raft of racism reforms from the game's power brokers came when AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off in a match with Italian lower league side Pro Patria in January after their fans abused him with monkey noises. The game was abandoned and his protest made headline news the world over. Alberto Lingria/AFP/Getty Images/file
CNN's Pedro Pinto stands on the spot where Boateng decided he'd had enough. He told the World Sport Presents Racism in Football documentary: "I decided to walk off the pitch because I said to myself, in this kind of environment, in this situation, I don't want to play football anymore." CNN
Boateng's AC Milan teammate Mario Balotelli has been the subject of racial abuse over a number of years. He and Boateng were abused by AS Roma fans during a match at the San Siro in May that was briefly suspended by the officials as a result. A public address announcement implored visiting supporters to stop their chants. Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Balotelli has had to deal with racism throughout his career. As far back as 2009, when he played for Inter, he was racially abused by opposing Juventus fans. Here, Inter's fans hold up banners in support of the striker. Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Balotelli told Pedro Pinto he was prepared to walk off if he receives more racial abuse: "After what happened to me in (the Roma) game, I felt a little bit alone when I was home. I always said that if that happened in the stadium, like if nobody said anything, I don't care. But this time I think I changed my mind a little bit, and if it is going to happen one more time, I'm going to leave the pitch because it's so stupid." CNN
Boateng's walk-off prompted the game's governing body to act and FIFA president Sepp Blatter invited the midfielder to sit on a task force dedicated to tackling racism in football. A raft of reforms have now been passed that could see teams relegated or expelled from competitions. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images/file
The head of FIFA's racism task force, Jeffrey Webb, told CNN the new measures could be "a defining moment in the fight against racism and discrimination." He labeled the recent abuse of Balotelli and Galatasaray striker Didier Drogba as "ignorant" and "unbelievable."
Blatter's new-found vigor to tackle racism was at odds with his sentiments in a 2011 interview with CNN when he expressed his belief that there was no on-field racism in football and that players who think they have been abused should simply say "this is a game." He later said his comments had been misinterpreted. Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images/file
One of the most high-profile incidents in England saw Liverpool striker Luis Suarez banned for eight-matches for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra in October 2011. Prior to the teams' return fixture the following February, Suarez refused to shake Evra's hand. Suarez subsequently apologized. Andrew Yates/AFP/Getty Images/file
Former England captain John Terry was found not guilty in a criminal court of racially abusing rival footballer Anton Ferdinand but was banned for four-matches by the Football Association. He accepted the charge, a £220,000 fine and apologized, saying: "I accept that the language I used, regardless of the context, is not acceptable on the football field or indeed in any walk of life." Will Oliver/AFP/GettyImages/file
The Serbian Football Association was hit with an $84,000 fine after a brawl between their under-21 team and England's in the city of Krusevac in October 2012. England player Danny Rose (far right) said he had been subjected to monkey chants throughout the game. The Serbian FA insisted their fine was for the altercation. Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images/file
Serbian fans are renowned for creating an intimidating atmosphere, as CNN discovered at the Belgrade derby in May. Despite previous incidents, there was no hint of racism in the match, though the Serbian Football Association's technical director Savo Milosevic did reveal they have no program in place to tackle racism. CNN
European football's governing body, UEFA also passed new laws on racism. They introduced a minimum 10-match ban for racist abuse by players or officials and escalating measures for clubs including fines and stadium closures for repeat offenders.
Various initiatives across Europe's leagues help to try and combat racism and offer opportunities to those communities that are under represented at the top of the game. The Asian Stars event, recently held at Chelsea's training ground, aims to encourage participation among aspiring Asian players at all levels of football. CNN